It was honours even in O'Connor Park Tullamore as Offaly and Longford played out an exciting draw. Over the balance of play it was a fair result, with both teams having chances to win the game.
Offaly had a chance to grab a goal in the 61st minute when substitute Conor McNamee hit the butt of the post, while Oran Kenny squandered an opportunity for Longford minutes later.
Both sides had a player black carded near the end; Rian Brady (Longford) and Colm Coyle (Offaly). The hosts pushed for a winning point right at the end but Longford defended well to hold on for the point
In a tight first half the sides were level on five occasions. With the aid of a strong wind Offaly who opened the scoring in the second minute when Bernard Allen got on the end of Cathal Mangan’s pass to shoot over. He could’ve and should’ve shot lower.
Once again Darren Gallagher was exceptional for Longford and he registered their first point in the eighth minute. Allen (free) and Oran Kenny traded points before a good Ruairi McNamee effort put Offaly back in front.
Longford took the lead for the first time in the 20th minute when Brady hit over an excellent point. They could’ve gone two ahead minutes later but, after a good phase of play, they hit a wide.
From the kick-out Anton Sullivan levelled for Offaly; the Rhode cluman was a real threat for the Faithful County throughout.
Fine points from Dessie Reynolds and Darren Gallagher either side of a Sullivan put Longford in front by the narrowest of margins with half an hour on the clock. One minute later they were dealt a blow when captain Donie McElligott received a black card but they held on to their lead heading in at the break.
A good point from Gallagher in the 40th minute put Longford ahead by two but Sullivan replied for Offaly. The score of the game came in the 45th minute when Gallagher won Paddy Collum’s kick-out, soloed through before slotting the ball over the bar to put two between the sides again.
The hosts never lost the faith however, and two Allen frees drew them level in the 50th minute. Conor McNamee had a chance to put them ahead one minute later but drove his low shot wide. They then kicked three wides in a row during a dominant spell.
Supporters certainly got value for money in the final 10 minutes as McNamee's goal effort rattled the post. Longford broke with Dessie Reynolds pointing to restore his side’s two point advantage.
Ruairi McNamee’s free kept Offaly in it while down the other end Oran Kenny was unlucky to see his effort go wide when the goal was on. In the 67th minute Offaly won the ball in defence and broke up the field with wing-back Niall Darby levelling the game.
Both sides had chances to win the game but none were converted as they had to settle for a point.
Offaly: P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, C Doyle; E Carroll, D Hogan, N Darby (0-01); CMangan, M Brazil; S Horan, R McNamee (0-02,0-01f), J Hayes; B Allen (0-04,0-03fs), A Sullivan (0-03), Johnson.
Subs used: C McNamee for Johnson (33), C Donohue for Hayes (53)
Longford: P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; I O’Sullivan, G Rogers, C P. Smyth; D Gallagher (0-05,0-01f), K Diffley; M Quinn, D McElligott, D Reynolds (0-02); D Mimnagh, R Brady (0-01), O Kenny (0-02).
Subs used: J Hagan for McElligott (63), D Doherty for Kenny (66), L Connerton for O’Sullivan (70+5), C Donnelly for Sullivan (70+6)
Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)